Biodiversity Conservation: Method, Difference and Prominent Conservations

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Biodiversity Conservation
Biodiversity Conservation

“We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity.”

-E. O. Wilson

What is Biodiversity Conservation?

  • Biodiversity conservation involves safeguarding and overseeing biodiversity in order to acquire resources for sustainable development. 
  • There are three primary objectives of biodiversity conservation:

Why do we Need to Protect the Biodiversity?

  • Biodiversity serves as a crucial measure of an ecosystem’s well-being. A healthy ecosystem, in turn, offers various benefits such as provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting services. 
  • The stability of an ecosystem is directly influenced by its biodiversity. 
  • Unfortunately, the loss of biodiversity has reached an alarming rate globally. 
  • The WWF Living Planet Report 2020 highlights a significant decline of 68% in wildlife populations. 
  • It is important to recognize that every living organism on Earth is part of a complex interconnected web known as an ecosystem. 
  • To safeguard biodiversity, conservation efforts have been undertaken both at national and international levels.

Methods of Biodiversity Conservation:

In Situ – The process of protecting an endangered plant or animal species in its natural habitat is commonly known as in situ conservation. 
– In-situ Biodiversity conservation includes national parks, biosphere reserves wildlife sanctuaries, etc.
National Parks
– The government maintains these small reserves, which have clear boundaries. Human activities like grazing, forestry, habitat alteration, and cultivation are strictly prohibited within these reserves. 
– For ex., Bandipur National Park and Kanha National Park.
Wildlife Sanctuaries
– In these regions, wild animals are exclusively present. People can engage in activities like timber harvesting, cultivation, and collection of forest products, as long as they do not disrupt the conservation efforts. Additionally, tourists frequent these areas for recreational purposes.
Biosphere Reserves
– Biosphere reserves are designated areas that serve multiple purposes in protecting wildlife, preserving the traditional lifestyle of inhabitants, and safeguarding domesticated plants and animals. 
– These reserves allow for permissible tourist and research activities to take place.
Ex-SituEx situ conservation is the relocation of endangered or rare species from their natural habitats to protected areas equipped for their protection and preservation.
– Ex-situ biodiversity conservation includes botanical gardens, aquariums, cryopreservation, Zoo, DNA banks etc.
Botanical Garden
– A botanical garden is a scientifically organized collection of living trees, herbs, shrubs, climbers, and other plants from different regions across the globe.
Zoological Park
– A zoo is a facility, whether it is stationary or mobile, that houses captive animals for public exhibition. 
– This includes circuses and rescue centers, but excludes licensed dealers of captive animals.

Difference Between the Wildlife Sanctuary and The National Park

ParametersWildlife SanctuaryNational Parks 
StatusWildlife Protection Act 1972Wildlife Protection Act 1972
Degree of ProtectionLesserGreater
ActivitiesGrazing, Hunting, Forestry etc. is allowedThese activities are Prohibited
Specific SpeciesYes (Conservation for specific species)No (habitat specific conservation)
Protected area management under IUCNCategory IVCategory II

IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) 

  • It was established on 5 October 1948 in the French town of Fontainebleau
  • As the first global environmental union, IUCN bring together governments and civil society with a shared goal to protect nature. 
  • Its aim is to encourage international cooperation and provide scientific knowledge and tools to guide conservation.
  • IUCN has become the largest and most diverse environmental network worldwide. It brings together over 1,400 Member organizations, allowing for a wide range of knowledge, resources, and influence. 
  • This diversity and expertise position IUCN as the leading global authority on the state of the natural world and the necessary actions to protect it.

Prominent Biodiversity Conservation Projects in India

The Indian government has launched many wildlife conservation projects like Project Snow Leopard, Project Tiger, Indian Rhino Vision 2020, Project Hangul, Vulture Conservation Initiative etc.

Conservation for Project Hangul

Project Hangul

  • The Hangul, also known as The Kashmir stag, is a subspecies of the Central Asian Red Deer
  • It can be found in the Dachigam National Park in Kashmir
  • In an effort to address the decreasing population of the Hangul, the government of Jammu and Kashmir, in collaboration with the IUCN and WWF, initiated Project Hangul.

Conservation Measure for Tiger:

Project Tiger

  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme initiated in 1973 at Jim Corbett National Park with the following objectives:
    • To ensure preservation of tigers in India for scientific, aesthetic, economic, cultural and ecological value while also harmonizing the tribal rights living in and around the tiger reserves
    • Safeguarding areas of significant biological importance as a national heritage, with the intention of benefiting, educating, and providing enjoyment for the public.

Core Buffer Strategy:

  • Tiger Reserves are constituted on a ‘core-buffer’ strategy under Project Tiger.
  • Tiger Reserves are notified on the recommendation of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) by the State Government.
  • Every four-year tiger census is led by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and NTCA in collaboration with state forest departments
  • Some of the technologies used in estimating the number of tigers include M-STrIPES,  CaTRAT, ExtractCompare etc.

Global Tiger Initiative, 2008 

  • It is an alliance of governments, international organizations like Civil Society and World Bank
  • It aims to save wild tigers from extinction and recently broadened its scope to include snow leopards. 
  • The initiative is led by 13 tiger range countries including India, China, Russia, Nepal, Bhutan etc.
  • It is an alliance consisting of governments, international organizations such as Civil Society and World Bank
  • Its primary goal is to protect wild tigers from becoming extinct, and it has recently expanded its focus to also include snow leopards. 
  • This initiative is headed by 13 countries that are home to tigers, including India, China, Russia, Bhutan, Nepal etc.

St. Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation 

  • It was agreed in 2010 under Global Tiger Initiative and TX2 was endorsed. 
  • TX2 aims at doubling the number of wild tigers.

Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS) 

  • It is a set of criteria which permits tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation. These criteria are a component of TX2.
  • The first inter-state tiger translocation occurred when tigers were moved from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha.

Conservation Measure for Elephant

Project Elephant

  • Project Elephant was initiated in February 1992 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to support states that have wild elephant populations and to guarantee the long-term existence of viable elephant populations in their natural habitats. 
  • The project aims to provide states with both financial and technical aid to accomplish the following objectives:
  • Safeguarding elephants, their habitats, and corridors.
  • Ensuring the well-being of domesticated elephants.
  • Resolving conflicts between humans and elephants.

Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme 

  • The resolution from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) requires the monitoring of trends in information about the illegal killing of elephants from Africa to Asia
  • This monitoring also includes evaluating the effectiveness of field conservation efforts.
  • Further, it emphasizes the importance of international collaboration in this endeavour.

Hathi Mere Saathi

  • MoEFCC launched Hathi Mere Saathi in partnership with Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to improve conservation and welfare prospects of elephants.

E-50:50 forum 

  • The E-8 countries hold a common global vision for the conservation, management, and welfare of elephants in all range countries. 
  • Elephants are protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) and Appendix I of the CITES.
  • The E-8 countries, including India, Botswana, the Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Thailand, have significant populations of elephants.

Gaj Yatra 

  • It is a campaign led by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), both NGOs to protect elephants.

Asian Elephant Alliance

  • It was launched in 2015 as an umbrella of five NGOs- Elephant Family, IFAW, IUCN Netherlands, World Land Trust and WTI. 

Conservation for Turtle 

Sea Turtle Project

  • The Sea Turtle Conservation Project was initiated in partnership with the UNDP in November 1999. 
  • The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is responsible for implementing the project. 
  • Although the project is being carried out in 10 coastal states across the country, particular attention is given to the State of Odisha.

Measure to Conserve Vulture Conservation

Vulture Conservation

  • India is home to nine vulture species in the wild. Unfortunately, these vultures have been facing a steady decline in their population, pushing them dangerously close to extinction.
  • One of the probable reasons for this decline is the use of Diclofenac Sodium, a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. 
  • This drug is typically given to animals to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain in certain conditions. 
  • However, when vultures consume the carcasses of animals treated with Diclofenac, they are unable to break down the chemical, which can lead to kidney failure in these birds. 
  • To address this issue, Meloxicam is being considered as a substitute for Diclofenac.

Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction (SAVE)

  • It is a consortium of organizations that have come together to address the challenges faced by vultures in South Asia
  • This consortium includes Bird Conservation Nepal, Bombay Natural History Society, International Center for Birds of Prey (UK), National Trust for Nature Conservation (Nepal), and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK)
  • Their main focus is on coordinating conservation efforts, campaigning, and fundraising activities to support the conservation of South Asia’s vultures.

Conservation measure for Snow Leopard:

Project Snow Leopard (2009)

  • It is an initiative supported by the government with the goal of protecting and preserving snow leopards. 
  • It is presently being carried out in five states situated in the Himalayan region, specifically Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

SECURE Himalaya Project

  • The project is part of the “Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development” (Global Wildlife Program), which is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
    • Its main objective is to help with the sustainable management of alpine pastures and forests in the high range Himalayan ecosystems. 
    • The project aims to safeguard globally important wildlife, including the endangered snow leopard, and their habitats.
  • The Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Program (GSLEP) is a cooperative effort of twelve countries that are home to snow leopards. 

Conservation Measures of Rhino

Indian Rhino Vision 2020 

  • The Assam government has implemented this initiative in collaboration with WWF-India. 
  • The objective is to increase the rhino population in potential habitat areas such as Manas National Park, Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary, Bura Chapori Wildlife Sanctuary, Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary and Orang by relocating rhinos from Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.  
  • Consequently, a dedicated Special Rhino Protection Force (SPF) has been formed, comprising individuals residing in the peripheral regions of Kaziranga National Park.

Declaration on Rhino 

  • The “New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019” was established to safeguard and preserve the species. 
  • This agreement was endorsed by five Asian Rhino Range Countries: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Indeed, the government is playing a significant role to conserve biodiversity through focused approach by and on the recommendation of the different committees like Madhav Gadgil Committee Report on the Western Ghats, Oommen V. Oommen Committee appointed by the Kerala Government, Kasturirangan committee on the Western Ghats etc. 

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